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Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to show that traditionally, kefir was obtained by fermenting milk with kefir grains. Wide variation in microflora of kefir grains makes it difficult to obtain an optimal and uniform starter culture necessary for obtaining a quality kefir. Reviewed literature on microbiological and technological innovations in kefir production would enrich the scientific knowledge resulting in production of kefir with superior physical, chemical, nutritional, therapeutic and sanitary qualities. Design/methodology/approach – An attempt is made to highlight the microbiological and technological aspects of kefir production with regard to the microflora of kefir grains, suitability of different types of milk, treatment of milk, starter inoculation and incubation, packaging, storage and post‐production treatment of kefir as well as methods of preservation of kefir grains. Findings – Diverse microflora of kefir grains is the prime cause for the wide variation in kefir quality. Production of kefir is based on symbiotic relation between lactic acid bacteria and yeasts and the type of milk, their heat‐treatment, size of inoculating starters and temperature of incubation influence their metabolic activities. Application of a suitable combination of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts would enable production of kefir with more uniform product with specific properties Packaging of kefir in a suitable container and storage at low temperature are suggested to retain its qualities. Originality/value – Fermentation of milk with a suitable starter combination consisting of lactic acid bacteria and yeasts rather than application of kefir grains during the production of kefir would be more scientific to yield a product with enhanced nutritional and therapeutic qualities.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 21, 2008
Keywords: Heat treatment; Milk; Food products; Drinks
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